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14:46 Sep 22 2009

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Fishing village in Tibet becoming prosperous
14:45, September 22, 2009  

Junpa Village in Quxu County is located by the south bank of the Lhasa River, which flows through Lhasa city, capital of Tibet.

Junpa means "fisher" in the Tibetan language. With a unique ancient Tibetan fishing culture, the village is known for various kinds of leather handicrafts of the Tibetan style. Great changes that have taken place there reflect the progress of new china, which will mark the 60th anniversary of its founding on Oct. 1, 2009.

"If the Communist Party of China had not overthrown the dark, cruel and backward system of old Tibet, I would not have lived till today!" said 93-year-old villager Tashi Dondrup.

"Surrounded by mountains on three sides and near the Yarlung Zangbo River, our village has too many people but limited farmland. Villagers had to make a living by fishing in the past. "

Tashi recalled that in old Tibet they had to pay five types of taxes to the feudal lords who owned the land and people living on it. Not restricted by any contracts, the lords could exploit them at will.

"Dozens of households all dwelled in adobe houses with rather poor livelihood at the foot of mountains. The damp dark adobes were cold in winter and hot in summer. Our only financial source was to fish. Those fishers with no fixed adobes had to risk being drowned in the river from time to time."

Tashi said that the life today is completely different from what it was. Living in a spacious and bright house with modern apparatus and Tibetan-style furniture, the aged man felt quite content with his life at present.

Villagers now have access to tap water and can enjoy rural cooperative medical service. Every year, the government offers a subsidy of 500 yuan (60.5 U.S. dollars) to the people over the age of 90 at their birthday.

Tsering and his younger brother Migmar inherited from their father the workmanship of making leather handicrafts. In recent years, the government has stepped up the development of the local tourism service, resulting in higher market demand for such Tibetan articles.

Tsering said that as their products are well received by domestic and foreign tourists, companies vie with one another in cooperating with them, so they need not worry whether their sales are good or not. They have hired five workers to help their business and their net income has reached 40,000 yuan (4,840 U.S. dollars) annually.

"Thanks to the government's policy to encourage Tibetans to become prosperous, the new generation of young people have more job opportunities," Tsering added.

According to Kelzang Tashi, head of the Junpa fishing village, the average annual income of the total 381 residents from 93 households in the village has hit 4,000 yuan. About 50 families work in the family-run workshops to produce small bullboats, bags for glutinous rice cakes and tea bags.

Based on the abundant aquatic resources, the Quxu County is preparing to build Junpa into an eco-tourist attraction integrated with sightseeing, entertainment and vacationing. In 2008, the native bullboat dance was included in the national intangible cultural heritage list.

Today, all the families have moved into their newly-built houses with color TV sets, 70 percent of them have fixed-line telephones and 150 villagers have become mobile-phone users.  

Source: Xinhuanet

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